All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The SI Curse in Reverse?

Derek Jeter was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated: in comic form, being beat up the Rays. Maybe the "SI Curse" is working in reverse. Since Jeter is not on the cover because he's doing well. The Rays are still atop the division, but the Yankees are no longer in last place. That may change, though, depending on how tonight's games go.

I'm not watching, I confess. I'm watching hockey tonight instead. I'm not a big hockey fan, but hey, it's the Stanley Cup.

And I'm really finding this year's Yankees hard to watch. It's not that they're losing. I've followed many a team with a losing record, and less chance of turning it around than the Yankees have. I think it's just that the team is so changed this year. A lot of the players I knew and loved are gone, or on the DL, or otherwise not playing. And of course, there's a new manager.

I guess I see big changes looming, and I don't like it. Even though I know it's necessary. Case in point...the face of the Yankees, Derek Jeter. He's not hitting very well this year. Still making contact, but his OBP and SLG have dropped like a rock.

His defense has been troubling as well. It was never all that great, but it improved greatly after A-Rod joined the team. (Leading some to speculate that A-Rod's presence allowed Jeter to cheat to his left. Dunno if I buy that. It's not like Robin Ventura or Aaron Boone were butchers. It's A-Rod's hitting that makes him an outstanding player, not his glove. His glove is very good, but not, IMO, spectacularly better than other third basemen Jeter has played beside.)

In any case, Jeter's defense has fallen off a cliff this year. Perhaps he's injured, but his range, never great, appears to be smaller than ever.

Earlier in his career, it would be dismissed as just a slump. But this is his age 34 season...the point in a player's career where every slump is viewed as a possible sign of terminal decline.

Whether it is or not, it's a reminder to Yankees fans that Jeter won't be around forever. He's had a very long career at a difficult position. Probably any other team, any other player, he'd have been moved to 3B or the outfield by now. I can't help thinking of Bernie Williams, another homegown Yankee who played a difficult position. Bernie played center field for years longer than he should have, and basically left under duress. I hope it doesn't go that way with Jeter. I don't want the Ghost of Derek Jeter at SS the way we had the Ghost of Bernie Williams haunting center field.

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati...Andy Phillips had one plate appearance, as a pinch hitter. He worked a walk. Dusty hasn't been using him much.

The Reds have been winning since phenom Jay Bruce was called up. Bruce has put up astonishing numbers, including a walkoff homer tonight. Dunno how long it will last, but Reds fans are positively giddy, and I can't blame them.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:50 PM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, May 29, 2008


You kind of knew this was coming. The Pirates lost the first two games in the series. Tonight, it was Phil Dumatrait on the mound: the pitcher the Reds threw away last year.

It was Cy Dumatrait who showed up tonight. Just as I predicted last October. Andy Phillips was 0 for 3 in his first start as a Red, but no one else hit much either. The Reds had only four hits the entire night (two of them courtesy of Jerry Hairston, Jr., the right-handed hitter who was called up while Andy was on the shelf with that hamstring problem). Even phenom Jay Bruce was hitless.

Well, tomorrow is another day. The Reds play the Braves next. Glavine vs. Volquez should be an interesting matchup.

Andy at bat

posted by BubbaFan, 11:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tonight's lineup: batting sixth... third baseman Andy Phillips.

Yup, Andy gets his first start as a Red tonight. He's playing 3B (!) and batting sixth.

Not sure why the usual third baseman, Edwin Encarnacion, is sitting tonight. He's been sick; perhaps Dusty just wants to rest him. However, he's also been in a slump, so maybe Dusty's trying to light a fire under him.

Good luck, Andy! We'll be rooting for ya.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:10 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Penguins show signs of life, Pirates don't

The Penguins won a close one tonight, right when people were getting ready to start throwing dirt over them. The Pirates, OTOH, looked deader than ever. The Reds smacked them around, coming away with a lopsided 9-1 win. Andy Phillips never got in the game. He was one of only two position players who didn't get to play tonight. (The other was catcher Paul Bako.) Maybe tomorrow.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Welcome back to the show, Andy Phillips

These things always seem to happen while I'm on the road. Andy was cut from the Reds roster while I was driving home from Florida spring training. Today, he was called up...while I was driving home from a road trip to the midwest.

The Reds finally did the right thing. They optioned Corey Patterson to Louisville, and called up Andy Phillips. Patterson was considered the best prospect in baseball...eight years ago. He hasn't lived up to that potential. And though he has a reputation for having a good glove, the stats show otherwise. He's been okay this year, but over his career, he's been way below average in CF. The Reds would be better off with Bubba Crosby, if they wanted a lefty CFer with a good glove.

Anyway, Jay Bruce is now patrolling CF in Cincinnati. Presumably, Patterson will take over CF in Louisville. Andy Phillips probably won't start often, since he'll be behind the other hot Reds prospect, Joey Votto. He'll be a much-needed righty bat off the bench. And he'll probably get to play a lot more than he would in a similar role with the Yankees, since there will be lots of double switches and such on a NL team like the Reds.

Andy will be wearing number 46, as he did in spring training. It's great to see him get this opportunity. Nobody deserves it more.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Well, Jay Bruce had pretty much a dream debut. I suppose hitting a home run or a grand slam would have been better, but few players have had the kind of first game he had: 3 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, a double, and a stolen base. Increíble.

But even with Bruce's magic (and a three-run dinger by Dunn), the Reds came uncomfortably close to letting it slip away. The Pirates scored three runs in the 9th, forcing Dusty to bring in his closer, Francisco Cordero. I'm afraid the Reds really aren't a very good team this year.

The roster move to make room for Bruce was to DFA Scott Hatteberg. This was a bit of a shock. Many expected Corey Patterson or Javier Valentin to be cut instead. Hatteberg was the team's most productive player last year. However, he's a lefty-hitting first baseman, and with Votto doing so well, he no longer had much of a role.

With Hatte gone, that might eventually open up a spot for Andy. A right-handed first baseman fits the needs of Reds better than the lefty Hatteberg.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:27 PM | link | 3 comments |


Jay Bruce, the best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, will be called up today. The timing is probably because of the arb clock. I imagine he'll become the Reds' every day center fielder; you don't call up a prospect like Bruce and park him on the bench. Plus, the Reds really need a CFer. For some reason, many people think Bruce can't handle CF and will end up as a corner outfielder. Maybe he will end up taking over for Dunn or Griffey eventually, but he's been playing CF in Louisville and doing a fine job. I'm not sure why people think he can't handle it.

I will be watching Bruce's big league debut tonight. I'm visiting a friend in the Pittsburgh area, and since the Reds are playing Pittsburgh, the game will be on TV.

Bruce was benched last night, as is customary when someone is being called up. Andy Phillips, who usually bats cleanup, was batting third (Bruce's usual spot). Andy was 2 for 4 with a home run. The other Andy, Andy Green, also hit a home run (after hitting two last night). RHP Steven Shell gave up both home runs. (A rather unfortunate name for a pitcher.)

Andy Phillips is batting .324 -- .400 against lefties. It's great that Bruce is being called up, but he's yet another southpaw, and doesn't really solve the Reds' lack of righty power.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:40 AM | link | 1 comments |

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

American flag The Louisville Bats beat the Toledo Mud Hens yesterday, 10-4. Andy Phillips was 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.

I drove past Toledo today, and saw the exit for Fifth Third Field. If it had been a day earlier, I'd have been tempted to pull off and catch the game.

The Bats are in Columbus tonight. Dunno if they'll get the game in, though. The weather report isn't looking good.

posted by BubbaFan, 4:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Late Night Update

Some comments on a couple of games that ended after I went to bed last night...

The Reds are on a west coast trip, so their games are starting around the time east coast games usually end. They won. They're playing Padres - a really bad team - but still. The pride of Rice University, Paul Janish, started at SS and went 1 for 5 with a walk and 2 RBIs. The hit was a single in the bottom of the former Yankee Sean Henn.

The Pirates-Cubs game went 14 innings. Former Red Phil Dumatrait started for the Bucs, and did a fine job. Jason Bay is out of his slump, hitting a home run, and eventually, the walkoff single. But the most memorable performance of the game for me was that of former Yankee Doug Mientkiewicz.

Minky was considered a long shot to make the team at the start of the year, but the Pirates really liked what they saw in spring training - not just on the field, but in the clubhouse. He proved himself to be a leader, and a good mentor for younger players, and so made the Bucs' 25-man roster. Though he's known as a first baseman, he ended up the lefty half of a 3B platoon, with the struggling Jose Bautista as the righty half.

With righty Jason Marquis on the mound, it should have been Minky's start last night, but he was deathly ill with the flu. I'm kind of surprised they even had him dressed and in the dugout. Usually when someone is that sick, they send him home so he won't spread the germs. But Minky was there, and eventually, they had to put him in:

"He was sick as you can be," manager John Russell said. "He really gutted it out. I'm telling you. I didn't want to use him, but I had to in the ninth, and we ended up being stuck leaving him out there."

The discomfort was visible for all 29,929 to see in the 13th, when Mientkiewicz tried but failed to beat out a grounder, then took nearly a full minute to walk in an apparent daze back to the dugout.

Minky entered the game in the bottom of the 9th in a double-switch. He was hit by a pitch, and eventually scored on a single, sac bunt, and sac fly. His run tied the game, 4-4...which meant they had to go to extra innings, and he had to play. He ended up playing five innings while sick as a dog, poor guy.

I always liked Minky when he was with the Yankees. Glad to see he's doing well with his new team, and I hope he feels better soon. Even if he is a Red Wings fan. ;-)

posted by BubbaFan, 7:00 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Andy Homers, Bats Still Lose

Andy Phillips hit another home run today. He played 3B and batted cleanup, going 1 for 4. The Bats lost, 1-2.

Some transaction notes....

Colter Bean has found a new team. He signed with the Tampa Rays.

Andy Cannizaro was indeed outrighted by the Rays. He cleared waivers and is back in AAA.

Bats pitcher Justin Lehr is headed for Korea. Apparently, he had a clause in his contract that said if a Korean team wanted to sign him, the Reds had to let him go. You wouldn't think a player would want to go to Korea over AAA, but apparently, it's considered a stepping stone to Japan, and a way for players to make more money.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:39 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, May 23, 2008

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

I visited the Carnegie Museum while in Pittsburgh. They have a new dinosaur display, which is very cool. Unfortunately the T-Rex section won't be open until June. But there was lots more to see, including the Allosaurus photographed above.

Andy Phillips DH'ed in the cleanup spot last night. He was 1 for 2 with 2 walks.

I am currently staying in a Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn is the official hotel of Major League Baseball, which means guests get free Gameday Audio. We don't get MLB.TV (probably because the hotel network couldn't handle it), but it's nice to be able to listen to games at least. I listened to part of the Reds game last night. The Reds announcers talked about how much the Reds need right-handed hitters, and about how well Andy Phillips was hitting. They're wondering why he hasn't been called up. (Aren't we all.)

posted by BubbaFan, 3:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

City of Bridges

I am on the road this week. Spent today in the "City of Bridges," Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The photo is of PNC Park, from Mt. Washington.

The Bucs did play at home tonight, but I didn't get to the park to see them. I had already moved on to Ohio by game time.

The Yankees and the Bats were off yesterday. The Reds lost a heartbreaker in bottom of the ninth. Torre's Dodgers won it with a walkoff single.

Many Yankees fans are starting to miss Torre. I'm not sure he'd do any better than Girardi...but the Yankees are monumentally bad this year. I thought it was a mistake when I checked the box score and saw the score was only the second inning. And only one run was earned! Mussina didn't even make it out of the first inning. Sloppy defensive play by the Yankees didn't help. To top it off, Jeter was hit on the wrist by a pitch and left the game. He's day to day.

Yes, the Yanks struggled last year, too, but this year is different. Last year, it seemed like they were just unlucky. They scored a lot, but not grouped in ways that let them win. This year, they're not scoring. This is looking like it's going to be a really ugly season.

Morgan Ensberg and Shelley Duncan aren't hitting their weights and aren't bringing much to the table on defense, either. I was kind of surprised that one or both weren't gone today to make room for A-Rod. Instead, Chris Britton was optioned to Scranton.

Andy Phillips was out of the Bats lineup tonight. Just a day off, I assume. He's been playing every day since coming back from his injury, and could probably use a break.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:11 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Well, the Yankees game was ugly. With Wang on the mound, many fans were hoping for a win, but it turned into a blowout victory for the Mets. Ugh. I don't know what's wrong with the Yanks. No A-Rod and no Posada hurts, but still...they've been really horrible lately. Very depressing. It was never like this when Bubba was on the roster. ;-)

The Reds won tonight, sweeping the Indians. The Redlegs are really on a roll, with the bats finally starting to heat up. Paul Janish was 3 for 3 with a walk.

Andy Phillips was 0 for 2 with a walk and a HBP tonight. The Bats played Indianapolis, and former Yankees Craig Wilson, Kevin Thompson, and TJ Beam were all in the game. KT continued his torrid hitting, going 2 for 4. Craig Wilson was 0 for 4 with a RBI. TJ Beam came in when the starting pitcher left with an injury. He pitched three innings, giving up only one hit and striking out four. His ERA is a very respectable 1.91. Louisville prevailed though, 5-3.

Yesterday's Bats game was a slugfest. Andy Phillips was 2 for 4 with a triple. Craig Wilson was 3 for 4 with two home runs. (!) Kevin Thompson came in as a late-inning sub as was 1 for 2 with a stolen base. When the dust settled, it was Bats 7, Indians 9 (thank the Bats' bullpen for the loss).

The Louisville Courier-Journal has a short article about Andy today:

Phillips trying to make it back to big leagues

Louisville Bats infielder Andy Phillips bolted the New York Yankees' organization in December, in part because they designated him for the minor leagues.

Yet after being one of the Cincinnati Reds' final roster cuts out of spring training, Phillips finds himself back in Triple-A. It's perplexing, especially since the Reds are in sore need of right-handed hitters.

Phillips has remained cool while trying to get back to the big leagues. He said he doesn't regret leaving the Yankees.

"I've been down this road so many times before where you're in Triple-A," he said. "You have to go out and play and perform that balance between not paying attention to what's going on and going out and doing your thing. I'm a firm believer in you control what you can control."

The Yankees moved Phillips off their 40-man roster last December to make room for catcher Jose Molina. Phillips, who was on the Yankees' opening day roster in 2005 and 2006, was coming off his best season in the majors, hitting .292 in 61 games with New York before being injured in September.

"In '06 I was there all year and didn't have a good year numbers-wise, yet I was able to keep a job," Phillips said. "Last year I go out and have by far the best year of my career and find myself looking for a job. It just tells you the craziness of this job."

Phillips is making a strong case to join the parent club. His recent 17-game hitting streak is the longest in the International League this season. It was the Bats' longest since Joey Votto had a 17-game streak last season.

It's not really that perplexing. They don't have room on the roster for another first baseman. Unless the Reds trade Hatteberg, they don't have room for Andy.

That said...they really should trade Hatteberg, if they can. He's not happy warming the bench behind Joey Votto. And it's just ridiculous to carry two left-handed first basemen. Three, really, if you count Javier Valentin. He's a switch-hitter, but is so much better from the left side that everyone considers him a lefty. He was supposed to be the backup catcher, but Bako has done so well that Valentin has become the third catcher - and occasional third left-handed first baseman.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 16, 2008

Streak Ended

Andy Phillips' hitting streak ended at 17 games (I think). The Bats game was rained out yesterday, so they played a doubleheader tonight. Minor league doubleheaders are only seven innings each, so he didn't have as many chances to keep the streak going as usual. He went 0 for 2 with a walk in the first game, breaking the streak. (He also went 0 for 2 with a walk in the second game.)

This summary was written before today's games:

PHILLIPS 17-GAMER: INF Andy Phillips is currently on a 17-game hitting streak (April 27-present) which is the longest by a Bat this season and the longest in the IL. Phillips is batting .373 (25-67) with 12 runs, six doubles, 17 RBI and three home runs during this time and has raised his average from .277 to its current mark of .327. Phillips is 2nd on the team with 12 multi-hit games, four behind leader Jay Bruce's 16, and he hit home runs in three straight games (May 6-8). This is the longest hitting streak by a Bats player since INF Joey Votto's 17-gamer last season. INF Brandon Larson has the longest hitting streak in franchise history at 26 games (2003).

Kei Igawa was sent down today to start the second game. He pitched a complete game, though it was only six innings. He gave up 4 runs on 5 hits (including a home run by Jay Bruce) and a walk. Though only 2 were earned runs.

The rain has been wreaking havoc with baseball the past couple of days. Yesterday, the Reds and Bats were rained out. The Yankees played, but it was a day game. (Ian Kennedy, back in the big leagues, didn't look so good.) Tonight, the Mats-Yanks game was rained out. Hope it doesn't rain all weekend.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:57 AM | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Janish wins it

Paul Janish made his major league debut tonight. There's a cute article here about how he found out. Also here.

He made quite a splash. He came in as a LIDR. It seemed like a safe move. The Reds were leading 6-0 in the 8th. Why not let the kid play in a low-pressure situation? The first two batters hit balls right at him, and he handled them well. His first at-bat wasn't that impressive. He popped out on the second pitch he saw.

But then the ninth inning turned into a nightmare. The Marlins scored six runs, and what had been looking like a blowout went to extra innings.

Janish, who is wearing #7, came to the plate again in the bottom of the 10th. Two outs, men on first and second. Foul, swinging strike...then a line drive up the first base line. Runner scores from second. Game over! In his first big league appearance, Janish wins it with a walkoff single.

And it was rookie pitcher Johnny Cueto who was on 2B and scored the winning run. He came in as a pinch-runner. Dusty was running out of players, I guess. He had two catchers in in the 10th, and both got on base. Not exactly speed on the basepaths. So he put a starting pitcher in as a pinch-runner. Shades of Jaret "Wheels" Wright being put in as a pinch-runner for Giambi a couple of years ago.

The post-game celebration was crazy. You'd think the Reds had just won the World Series or something. I guess it was a combination of the roller coaster of a game, and the fact that it was a rookie fresh from AAA who was the hero. Ryan Freel, who puts the wreck in reckless, actually kicked Janish in the face during the post-game celebration. You can see it on the video at Gameday. Poor Janish ended up with a bloody nose.

Freel gives Janish the game-winning ball.

Meanwhile, in Louisville...the Bats played a day game today. Andy Phillips was 2 for 3 with a walk. Both hits were doubles. He's now batting .327, and his hitting streak is at 17 games.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:04 PM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Janish gets the call

Paul Janish is headed for big leagues. Jeff Keppinger fouled a ball off his knee and broke a bone. Shortly afterward, Janish was removed from the Louisville lineup. It didn't take a genius to figure out the reason, and sure enough, by the end of the game, it was official. Keppinger is headed for the DL, and Janish will take his spot on the roster.

I don't know who will be the starting SS. They may try Hairston at SS, with Janish as utility infielder. I hope they give Janish a chance, though. He's been hitting really well, and defensively, he's probably better than anyone they have up there, including Keppinger.

I'm glad Janish is getting a shot, but what a bummer for Keppinger. He was one of the few bright spots for the Reds this season. A definite fan favorite. And what a bummer for the Reds. Kepp was one of their most productive players.

Andy Phillips was 1 for 4, so his hitting streak is alive at 16 games. He's batting a respectable .318.

Yankees lost a hearbreaker in extra innings tonight. With Mo on the mound, no less. But hey, if you only score one run in 11 innings, you can't expect to win.

Could this really be the year when Tampa wins the division? Eh, probably not. It's early yet. They're peaking too soon. would be kind of cool if it happened. If the Yankees can't take the division...well, better Tampa than Boson.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

Bubba on "Kids On Deck"

Back in July 2006, Bubba Crosby appeared in a segment of the YES childen's show, Kids On Deck. At the time, I said I would try to post a video clip, but I never got around to it. Bubba was DFA'd just a few days later, and I was just too bummed out to watch this clip, let alone edit it and convert to a web-friendly format. Then I kind of forgot about it.

But I came across the video on my hard drive recently, so here it is:

Bubba's outfielding tips [4.25 Mb]

Kind of interesting, really, at least to those of us who have never played outfield. (Well, I've played outfield...but not well enough that anyone ever bothered to coach me.)

Looks like it was filmed at spring training. I think I saw palm trees in the background.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:14 AM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, May 12, 2008

Still Streaking

The Bats played a daytime doubleheader today. Minor league doubleheaders only go 7 innings each, which means fewer at-bats (and fewer chances to keep a hitting streak going). But Andy kept his hitting streak alive. It's now the longest for the Bats this season.

He was 1 for 2 with two walks in the first game. (Started at 3B, batting cleanup.)

In the second game, he played 1B, and again batted cleanup. He was 1 for 3 with a double.

The Yankees are about to lose to the mighty Rays. Gotta give Tampa credit. They deserve this win. Andy Pettitte was pitching in and out of trouble all night, and eventually, the odds caught up with him.

And jeez, do the Rays have the best defensive outfielders in the league? They're catching balls that seem uncatchable. Yankees hitters are being robbed, again and again. It's like they've got a whole outfield of Bubba Crosbys.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:04 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Soggy In the Middle

Backyard apple blossoms

It was a beautiful day here, cool and sunny. The apple tree outside my kitchen window is in full bloom, and gorgeous. But it was wet in the midwest. Both the Yankees (playing in Detroit) and the Louisville Bats were rained out today.

The Reds, playing the Mets in New York, probably wished they were rained out. Just about everything that can go wrong for them has gone wrong. When they're hitting, their pitching is terrible. When they're pitching well, they can't hit. Their defense is underwhelming. And today, they even batted out of order - the first time I've ever seen that in a pro game.

Andy Phillips' hitting streak is still going. It's at 13 now, the longest active streak in the IL. The Bats lost on Friday, but Andy went 1 for 4, keeping the streak alive. Yesterday, phenom Homer Bailey had a terrible day, giving up 11 hits, 2 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned) in only 4.1 innings. But the Bats still won, helped by home runs by Paul Janish and Jay Bruce. Andy went 2 for 5 with a 2-RBI double.

Janish homers

posted by BubbaFan, 11:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stamp Out Hunger

Oil hit another record high today, as did gasoline. Lately, it seems like it's news when crude oil doesn't set a new record high. It's about $125/barrel now. Only three or four years ago, OPEC was claiming their "target range" was about $25/barrel. They're a little off. Like, about $100 off.

The price of oil looks like it's going exponential. Makes you wonder if peak oil is here. (BTW, Bubba's alma mater, Rice University, is doing a lot of work on the topic of peak oil.)

Whether we're at peak oil or not, it seems clear that we are now in an era of permanently higher oil prices. Which also increases the cost of food and other goods, since it takes energy to produce and transport them. Some experts are predicting gas will be $7 a gallon by the end of this year.

But if you think your fuel bill is bad...what about sports teams, that have to travel all over the state, even all over the country? USA Today has a special report on gas prices today, including an article on how it's affecting sports, from high school to the Hall of Fame.

Bill Papierniak, general manager of the Daytona Cubs of the Class A Florida State League, says the average round trip for his team is 200 miles. Teams may have to attract more fans to offset fuel costs, he says.

The Buffalo Bisons take $2 off the price of tickets for fans who take the Metro Rail train to the ballpark. The number of fans taking the offer is up 10% this season.

"It's the cost of gas," Bisons general manager Mike Buczkowski says. "It's also the rising costs of everything making people look for discounts."

The Bisons, who also play in the International League, take buses to Rochester, N.Y., and Syracuse, N.Y. They fly to Durham, N.C., and Richmond. Buczkowski says the cost of travel is up 15% from last season, which was up 15% from 2006.

"It's a concern," Buczkowski says. "We try not to pass that on to the customer because in the minors we are all about value."

Ticket prices already are set for the season, Richmond assistant GM Bill Blackwell says, "but of course in the supermarket green beans can go up every day."

Says Baldwin: "Everything we do is oil-based. The giveaways at the ballpark are plastic and that's oil-based. Hats aren't, but I have to put them on a boat, airplane or truck. So there's some derivative of an oil byproduct in everything."

(Actually, hats probably are oil-based. The ones they give away are likely at least partly synthetics, which are petroleum products.)

Some people actually think we'll have to relocalize sports. I doubt it will come to that, at least any time soon, but teams could have a lot of trouble offsetting higher fuel costs by attracting more fans, when the fans are also struggling with higher prices. People are already buying smaller cars and trying to unload their SUVs. They're moving closer to work. And when all else fails, they're paying the higher fuel and food costs by running up their credit card debt. Food banks are running out of food, because more people are asking for help while fewer people are donating food.

You're doing fine, you say? Great! Then you can help others less fortunate. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 10th, is Stamp Out Hunger Day. Postal workers will be collecting food for food banks all across the U.S.A. Gather up a few non-perishable food items (no glass containers, please), put them in a bag, and leave it out for your letter carrier. You can hang the bag from the mailbox or put it on the ground beside it. They'll pick it up and deliver it to a local food bank.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Holy guacamole. Andy Phillips hit a grand slam today. That means he's homered three days in a row. And has an 11-game hitting streak. That boy is en fuego.

Here's Jim Kelch calling it on Bats Radio:

Andy Phillips' Grand Slam (wma file)

He was DHing in the cleanup spot. His line for the day: 1 for 3 with 2 walks and 4 RBIs. And he made the front page of the Bats official site (from which I swiped the above photo).

Bats won, 8-7.

And Baseball America finally posted their minor league transaction report. (It usually goes up Monday.) Andy Cannizaro has been called up by the team formerly known as the Devil Rays. Probably not for long, though; the Rays are expecting some players to come off the DL soon, and Cannizaro will likely be sent down to clear room.

Bronson Sardinha has been signed by the Cleveland Indians, and put on the roster of their Triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons. I'm still wondering why Sardinha was released by the Mariners. He was hitting well with the Tacoma Rainiers:

.323 .371 .419 .791

And they released him? They said it was because they had too many outfielders and couldn't give him enough at-bats, but I gotta wonder. Baseball America reported that they put him on the suspended list before releasing him. Dunno what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

And Sidney Ponson was called up by the Rangers. He is apparently pitching well.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:24 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday Tidbits

The first part of the Andy Phillips interview was cut off in the archived game, but I got most of it. I also grabbed the Paul Janish interview from April 28 while I was at it.

Andy Phillips, May 8, 2008 (490k)

Paul Janish, April 28, 2008 (700k)

Janish says winning the national championship with Rice was the most fun he ever had in baseball.

Andy admitted that he loves The Andy Griffith Show. To the point that he can recite all the lines, and his wife sometimes won’t let him watch it. The other guys in the clubhouse like Seinfeld, but he likes The Andy Griffith Show. Good grief. He wasn’t even born when that show was made.

(And for the record...Bubba likes Friends.)

Me, I don't watch much TV, and I never watch sitcoms. Like Todd Coffey, I like Star Trek. But even there, I'm kind of weird. I don't like TNG or DS9, like normal people. I like TOS and VOY. (I don't think anyone likes Enterprise.)

I went to a really geeky engineering school. Within hours of showing up, some guy tried to pick me up by inviting me to a Star Trek party. LOL! A bunch of students used to gather in the student union to watch Star Trek on the big screen TV. One day the maintenance guy turned off the sound as a prank. Nobody noticed until the commercial break, because everyone there was reciting the lines in chorus...including the music and sound effects.

Oh, I found out what happened to Colter Bean, who was cut by the Braves' Triple-A team last month. He is now playing for the Olmecas de Tabasco of the Mexican League.

Wonder if Bubba would consider playing in another country, or in the independent leagues?

posted by BubbaFan, 7:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Andy Phillips

Bats Radio interviewed Andy Phillips on the pre-game show today. Hopefully it will be archived later tonight. You can listen to the minor league game archives for free, and usually the pre-game interview is included. I will also try to, ahem, "liberate" the interview for posterity.

Andy's having a great night tonight. A three-run homer in the first inning, a walk in the third inning, RBI single in the fourth inning.

Roll Tide!

posted by BubbaFan, 8:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

What's it going to take?

Andy Phillips, after a bit of a slow start, is raking down in Louisville. As I expected he would; he's always hit well in the minor leagues. Caja asked what it's going to take for him to get a callup. My guess: a trade or an injury. Right now, there just isn't room on the roster for Andy.

The Reds' roster is incredibly dysfunctional - perhaps because it was assembled by what amounted to two GMs (plus possibly a meddling owner and demanding manager). They have two left-handed first basemen. They have three catchers. They have a lot of left-handed power but not much from the right side of the plate. They really struggle against southpaws, and don't have a real CFer or leadoff hitter.

They aren't quite as dysfunctional as they were before; they released Juan Castro and called up Jerry Hairston, Jr., which theoretically gave them some right-handed power off the bench. Hairston was hitting extremely well for the Bats, but he hasn't played much since being called up. One of the Reds beat writers has hinted that Hairston is in Dusty's doghouse, because of something he said during spring training.

Andy was on the shelf with a sore hamstring when Hairston was called up, but I suspect Hairston and Cabrera were ahead of him anyway. They were both raking in Louisville, and they were both cut after Andy was during spring training. Probably because they are more versatile players, playing infield as well as outfield (including the demanding SS and CF positions). While Andy played some corner OFer in spring training, he's never played CF, and the Bats haven't been using him in the outfield at all.

Jay Bruce will probably be called up, perhaps in June. He can hold down CF, though he's yet another lefty. I don't think they'll ask him to bat leadoff. He hasn't been doing that in Louisville.

First baseman Scott Hatteberg is not happy on the bench behind Joey Votto, and has said he wants to be traded. He was the Reds' most productive player last season, and many expected him to be traded at the deadline. He wasn't, perhaps because he's more valuable to the Reds than to any other team. His numbers look great...but then you look at his home and away splits. He's much better at Great American Ball Park than anywhere else. So the Reds may not get what they think he is worth. If he is traded, though, that might open up a spot for Andy.

The Reds have a lot of holes. They need some right-handed power. They need a good defensive CFer. They need a leadoff hitter (patient, speedy, good OBP). Unfortunately, Andy really isn't a good match for those needs. He is a right-handed bat with some power, but his splits have always been reversed on the big league level.

His best chance might be to be traded to a team that has more need for him than the Reds do.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:37 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Junior and A-Rod

The McPaper had a story about Ken Griffey, Jr. today:

Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

It suggests he might be traded to Seattle. Not terribly shocking. The Griffey trade speculation has been going on for years, and the Mariners are a prime target. They're an AL team, and aging sluggers usually end up in the AL. And of course, it's where he came from.

What I found curious was the part where he talks about how he was traded.

"I wouldn't change anything," says Griffey, who was traded to the Reds on Feb. 10, 2000. "I had to leave Seattle when I did. I just had to. They know the real reason why I left."

...Griffey says he could still be in Seattle if not for a simple question.

When it became clear the Mariners were going to have difficulty re-signing both Griffey and Alex Rodriguez, a team official approached Griffey and asked, "Who should we trade?"

"I refused to answer," says Griffey, who declined to name the official. "That was not my job. So they went and asked the next person.

"I got traded. He stayed one year. Then he left too."

I dunno. Would it really have made a difference if he'd asked them not to trade him? Interesting story, though.

The Yankees game was a heartbreaker tonight. The Yankees were clinging to a 3-2 lead...until the usually lights-out Joba Chamberlain gave up two walks and a home run.

Andy Phillips had a pretty good night. He started at 1B, batting cleanup, and was 2 for 4 with a home run, a double, and a walk. His batting average is now .305.

Final score: Bats 7, Tides 3.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:04 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Boy's Day

Yes, I know. For most people, today is Cinco de Mayo. But in Hawai`i, today is celebrated as Boy's Day. Families fly koi-shaped windsocks, one fish for each son in the family. I gather in Japan, May 5th is now celebrated as Children's Day. They fly three fish, one for the father, one for the mother, one for the kid(s). Or they fly one for each child in the family, boy or girl.

The Japanese came to Hawai`i mostly in the latter half of the 19th century. They were brought over as indentured servants, to work on the sugar plantations. Many of the Japanese customs and folklore that survive in Hawai`i are from the Meiji era, and have faded or died out in Japan.

And well, well. Roger Clemens has issued a public apology. He's not saying for what, though it seems to be for his affairs, and not for juicing. And he denies sleeping with Mindy McCready when she was only 15. (He waited until she was 16?) My guess is he's sleeping on the couch now.

And this is definitely carrying team loyalty too far:

Yanks fan allegedly runs over, kills Red Sox fan

Police say the incident followed an argument. They haven't released details, but witness are saying an argument broke out in Slade's Food & Spirits after Hernandez said she was a Yankees fan. They said Beaudoin was among a group of people who began chanting at Hernandez.


The Louisville Bats play the Norfolk Tides tonight. Andy Phillips is DHing in the cleanup spot. Paul Janish is getting the day off. He's probably had more playing time than any other Bat; he's earned a day off.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:00 PM | link | 4 comments |

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Welcome back, Kei Igawa

Ian Kennedy got sent down to Scranton, and Kei Igawa will likely be called up to take his spot in the rotation. Uh, boy. I wish Igawa the best, but I fear he'll be as inconsistent as ever.

Darrell Rasner got off to a rough start today, but settled down and had a very good outing. I hope he can keep it up. It would be a great story, if Rasner and Igawa, two guys tossed on the wayside for young studs Kennedy and Hughes, end up leading the Yanks to victory. Hey, it could happen. Maybe they'll be the Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon of this year.

Andy Phillips did not play for the Bats yesterday. He was out of the starting lineup, likely just to give him a day off. At one point, he was standing in the on-deck circle as a pinch-hitter, but the inning ended before he got to bat, and they decided to leave the pitcher in.

He started at 3B today. He was 2 for 5 with a double. Alas, the Bats fell in 11 innings. (Thanks a lot, Todd Coffey.)

Paul Janish was 1 for 4 with a walk. It's really cute how his family and friends keep e-mailing the Bats radio guys from Cypress, Texas. He's got a hometown fan club.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 02, 2008

Posada to return in six weeks?

Well, it's apparently unanimous: all the doctors Jorge Posada consulted say he has rotator cuff tendinitis. He may have surgery in the off-season, but for now, they're hoping conservative treatment works. If it does, he could be back in five or six weeks.

Uh, boy. I think that's what Bubba had last year. Conservative treatment doesn't always work. And even when it does work, it can take a lot longer than six weeks. Five or six weeks is probably extremely optimistic.

Apparently, the doctors told Posada to shut it down for six weeks. But the Yankees don't want to wait that long, and are going to try to get him throwing again after only two weeks' rest.

In other medical news...Phil Hughes found out that he's nearsighted, and needs glasses. (Probably spends too much time on the computer, blogging and shopping for baseball cards on eBay.) I guess that's why he kept crossing up poor Chris Stewart. But jeez, don't they give the players vision tests during those spring training physicals?

The Bats lost tonight. Andy Phillips started at 1B and went 1 for 4. Paul Janish was 0 for 4. His family e-mailed the Bats radio guys tonight, and got into a little argument about who his #1 fan was. His dad Tom apparently tried to claim he was, but mom Debbie would have none of that. His girlfriend and high school coach apparently also e-mail from time to time. And his mom said she was coming to Louisville for Mother's Day. (Awwww....)

posted by BubbaFan, 10:53 PM | link | 3 comments |

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Phil Phracture

Well, I guess was I wrong. Phil Hughes has a real injury. Either that, or the Yanks are going to a whole new level of deception. (Which I wouldn't put past them this year.) Hughes has a rib fracture, and will be out 4-8 weeks. Probably longer, because players always take longer to heal than the team thinks.

Terrible news. The team is being decimated by injuries. No A-Rod, no Posada, no Hughes. You can't rule the Yanks out yet, but it's not looking good. If they don't make the playoffs, I think Cashman will be canned. Funny how all the fans who didn't want Santana in the off-season are now crucifying Cashman for not landing him.

Worse, this is the latest in a long series of injuries that Hughes has suffered in his short career. It's starting to look like he's injury-prone.

The Yankees had another bad game tonight. Ian Kennedy was a little better than Phil Hughes, but not much. And the bats were pretty limp.

Chad Moeller got his first start since being DFA'd. He was glad to be back. He said this was the first time he was hoping he would clear waivers. He was a respectable 1 for 4, and seemed to work well with the young pitchers. (He has a reputation for handling pitchers well.)

Things went better for the Louisville Bats. They played the Richmond Braves, which meant they faced former Yankees Sal Fasano and Matt DeSalvo, among others. Paul Janish was 1 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored. Andy Phillips started at 3B and was 2 for 5. He also got his first Play of the Game, for an RBI single that put the Bats ahead.

Final score: Louisville 11, Richmond 8.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:29 PM | link | 2 comments |